Bermuda Post

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

Venezuela foreign assets will not pass to Maduro -opposition

Venezuela foreign assets will not pass to Maduro -opposition

Opposition lawmakers in Venezuela seeking to remove interim president Juan Guaido said on Thursday that step will not result in foreign assets passing to President Nicolas Maduro's government.
Three of four major opposition groups - Justice First, Democratic Action and A New Era - are backing a bill to oust Guaido and create a five-member commission to manage foreign assets, especially U.S.-based refiner Citgo, a subsidiary of state-owned oil company PDVSA.

The effort received initial approval last week and a second vote could take place on Friday. Guaido and some lawyers have warned that Maduro could take control of assets abroad.

Protections for Citgo and for over $1 billion in gold stored at the Bank of England are "based on a non-recognition of Maduro which will also be maintained," Justice First lawmaker Alfonso Marquina told legislators and journalists during a virtual meeting.

Guaido has been the global face of Venezuela's fractious opposition since 2019, when he invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, garnering backing from the United States and other governments that reject Maduro's 2018 re-election as fraudulent.

But Maduro has remained in control of nearly all Venezuela's institutions, including its security forces. International support has waned for Guaido's interim government, which controls some foreign assets and runs many embassies.

"I repeat that what they have told us is that they will continue to support Venezuela in its fight, they will continue supporting the national assembly," said A New Era lawmaker Nora Bracho.

The interim government has been a pebble in Maduro's shoe, Guaido said in a Twitter video on Thursday, as he urged lawmakers to replace him instead of dissolving it.

"You have the votes to destroy the interim presidency," Guaido said. "But you also have the votes to maintain it and name the people who form it."

Opposition parties hope the United States will extend a license protecting Citgo from possible creditor seizures.

The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom - where Maduro has sued for access to the gold - has ruled British courts are bound to accept their government does not recognize Maduro.
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